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  • Everything you need to know when youre visiting Costa Rica

  • TravelLocal is bringing the buy local movement to the travel industry. The company specialises in bespoke travel itineraries, created with local experts around the world. This involves connecting travellers with handpicked local experts, ensuring quality and local knowledge. Its a great way to support the local economies of the places you visit and have a better trip!

  • Our local partner based in Costa Rica

    We aim not only to offer you a perfectly organised tailor-made holiday in Costa Rica, but to also bring a personal touch and some Costa Rican warmth into our efforts to make your trip a special experience!

    Our local partner has been crafting tailor-made Costa Rican holidays since 1993, when they had just a fax machine and a telephone to work with. They were founded by Astrid, who came to Central America from Holland to finish writing her university thesis. Six months later, besotted with the country, she took her first steps in the travel industry and opened an agency in San Jose. The team is now made up of nearly 30 people, all of whom know every inch of this extraordinary country - there are no experts quite like local experts! In the last five years they have welcomed nearly 25,000 visitors to Costa Rica, and are ready and waiting to welcome you next.

    Our partner is an active member of CANAECO (Costa Ricas main ecotourism organisation) and like all companies on TravelLocal, they are locally-owned.

    Great holiday - input provided by local travel

    agent was invaluable- Colin from UK

    Travelled to Costa Rica in April 2018

    Costa Rica is definitely worth a visit!

    - Lauraine from Australia

    Travelled to Costa Rica in March 2018

    Well organised trip to Costa Rica, great guides

    - Irene from England

    Travelled to Costa Rica in March 2018

  • Theoverview

    6 ... The Stats and Facts7 ... The Practicalities9 ... Culture


    11 ... Wildlife13 ... Beaches14 ... National Parks16 ... Ecotourism17 ... Cities18 ... Hiking19 ... Adventure Sports20 ... Festivals

    21 ... Get started on making your dream trip

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  • The overviewCosta Rica may be small, but its appeal is anything but. If the list of wildlife superlatives, conservation firsts and sustainable tourism awards isnt enough to tempt you, focus instead on the wealth of natural beauty, the spectacular landscapes and the hospitable people. Costa Rica is located on a land bridge at the point where continents collide, meaning it is a real life noahs ark, hosting an incredible variety of wildlife. For anyone with even a passing interest in the natural world, this is a destination where the sheer quantity of species and variety of habitats is a joy to behold. And once youve soaked up all that splendid nature, you can kick back in style - hot springs, adventure sports, surf spots and idyllic beaches all add up to a reviving trip. One taste of La Pura Vida (the pure life) and youll be hooked.

    The Stats and FactsThe PracticalitiesCulture

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  • The stats and factsThe Overview /


    There are no less than 120 volcanoes in Costa Rica, but only seven of these are active.

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    Costa Ricans refer to themselves as Ticos.

    Among the Central American countries, Costa Rica is considered to be the most stable. It has a good state education system and a democratically elected government.

    Spider-men and women will love the diversity of spider species, all 20,000 of them.

    Costa Rica is smaller than Lake Michigan.

    Ten percent of the global population of bats are found in Costa Rica.

    Pura Vida is a national motto, used as a greeting, a thank you, a farewell and to say everythings just fine!

    Less than 1% of Costa Ricans are of indigenous ancestry. Everybody else has some European heritage.

    Costa Rican people love their coffee, they dont take life too seriously, and they are generally very friendly.

    Over 20% of the butterflies in the world live in Costa Rica.

    20%of worlds butterflies

    Costa Rica abolished its army in 1949. It is one of only 23 countries globally with no active military.

    1949abolished army


  • When to goThe Costa Rican climate is a complex beast with many local microclimates and varying altitudes muddying the waters. However, broadly speaking, the driest time to plan a trip is between November and April, except the Caribbean coast which tends to be drier from March to September. The wet season is known as the green season in Costa Rica, and can be a rewarding time to travel as parks are less crowded and everything is indeed greener. As the Costa Rican climate is tropical you should expect rain whichever time of year you visit, and pack accordingly. The wettest months are September and October, and the busiest months are December and the Easter period, as well as July and August.

    Food and drinkThe regional diversity of Costa Rica is reflected in its cuisine, with particular dishes specific to certain areas. You will find gallo pinto - beans and rice - nationwide, especially for breakfast, sometimes served with egg. Other countrywide staples include plantains, tortillas, picadillos and arroz con leche, a sweet milky rice pudding. The specialities of San Jos include Chifrijo, which is a favourite bar meal involving rice, meat and beans, garnished with chimichurri - a tomato and lime salsa. Tamales are also popular

    in the capital, while in Limon province, the prevalence of caribbean style dishes such as rice and beans owe much to the heritage of the region, where much of the cooking has a creole twist. In Guanacaste province, corn pancakes called chorreadas are popular for breakfast or a snack. Costa Rica has a fabulous array of unusual fruits to make your mouth water. Be sure to try anonas, mamones chinos and pejibaye if you get the chance.

    The PracticalitiesThe Overview /

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  • LanguageMost of Costa Rica is Spanish speaking, and many people involved in tourism also speak good English. There are a number of indigenous languages spoken by communities descended from the pre-colombian inhabitants, such as Bribri and Maleku, but these are not widespread.

    CurrencyYou can use the Costa Rican currency (colones) interchangeably with US dollars, though prices may be more often quoted in colones so you might want to memorise the approximate rate of exchange. Its not possible to obtain local currency outside Costa Rica but it is easy to get either by changing cash at the bank or using ATMs.

    The Overview / The Practicalities


    GraciasThank You

    Por favorPlease

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    VisasVisitors travelling to Costa Rica from most Western European countries and North America can get a ninety day entry stamp on arrival without any need for a visa. Your passport should have at least six months validity, you will need to have proof of your onwards travel plans and you may be asked to produce evidence that you have sufficient funds for your stay, though this is unlikely if you arrive by plane.


  • CultureThe Overview /

    The culture of Costa Rica is as vibrant and varied as its people, taking inspiration from the rural heartlands and the coasts in particular, and owing much to the religious heritage and lifestyles of the Spanish conquistadors who settled here from the sixteenth century onwards. Much of the country is reliant on the land for a living, and the cornerstones of traditional life are family, faith and farms.

    The majority of Costa Ricans religion is Catholicism, and due to this the major Christian holidays are observed. One standout cultural highlight is the longstanding Afro Caribbean communities that are centred on Limn province, mainly descendants of slaves brought to the region by pirates in the 17th and 18th centuries. Many of the cultural landmarks in the Limn Province originate in Jamaica where many of the original Afro Caribbean inhabitants came from, for example Protestantism, reggaeton music, creole language and cuisine.

    Other areas where folk music has traditionally been an important part of local culture include Guanacaste and the Central Valley. The history of coffee cultivation also plays a significant part in the heritage of Costa Rica, as it is the product upon which much of the nations wealth is founded. The richer cafetaleros enjoyed a prominent position in society and used their influence to develop Costa Ricas cultural landscape. Today, Ticos are very proud of their progress. The healthcare and education provision are among the most advanced in Latin America, and it is a politically stable democracy.

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  • The highlights

    WildlifeBeachesNational ParksEcotourism

    Jumpto a


    CitiesHikingAdventure SportsFestivals

  • Some of the most celebrated of Costa Ricas wide selection of species include 4 different types of monkeys, the most common of which is the mantled Howler monkey, which is numerous in the Tortuguero National Park and can be tracked down with success due to the clamorous call of the males.

    Birds are a major attraction in Costa Rica, and everyone - from keen birders to the mildly interested - should make time in the


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